B.R.I.D.G.E. Academy Celebrates Thanksgiving


Maria Comerford

B.R.I.D.G.E. students celebrate community and family by sharing Thanksgiving with their friends, teachers and administrators.

By Maria Comerford, News Editor, Junior

The B.R.I.D.G.E. Academy, a school-within-a-school here at Pelham Memorial High School, was founded in 2006 by former PMHS assistant principal (and current Pelham Middle School principal) Lynn Sabia, and remains an instrumental program at PMHS. Based on a similar program at Woodlands High School known as CHOICES, Ms. Sabia founded B.R.I.D.G.E. (which stands for Building Relationships, Integrating Discipline, and Getting Educated). Mr. Timothy Pitrulle joined the program in 2006, with Mrs. Jeanette Connolly coming aboard in 2007 and Mr. Thomas Beck in 2013. The program provides a safe haven for its members, where the students can build personal relationships with their teachers in a more intimate learning environment. It gives them a home base to come back to throughout the day, as well as smaller classes that equip them with more focused attention. This year the program has a record high enrollment of 37 students.

“B.R.I.D.G.E. is a great program. The kids feel comfortable, and we are able to ensure that they will make [the] right choices, not just in school, but in life,” Mr. Pitrulle said.

On November 20, faculty and students of PMHS, as well as administration and Board of Education members gathered for their annual Thanksgiving luncheon. There they share, as a family of friends — not just educators and students — their appreciation for the program and one another. The food was catered from Pelham Pizza and Lange’s Deli, with senior B.R.I.D.G.E. students, as well as faculty, providing dessert. Turkey with gravy, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and stuffing were among a wide variety of dishes available to those in attendance.

Every family is different and so is every educational opportunity. The B.R.I.D.G.E. program understands that not every child learns the same way and that every situation is different. The way they are able to change students’ lives from within the walls of a classroom is what makes it so special. The B.R.I.D.G.E. Thanksgiving is just one event that exemplifies the successes this program has brought to PMHS and its students.

“This program has inspired us to not only to be better students but better people in and out of school. They really make B.R.I.D.G.E. feel like home when we step into the classroom. We are extremely thankful to have teachers like them who care about more than just our academics. B.R.I.D.G.E. is truly a family,” senior Samantha Volpe said.